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An inflammatory reaction of unknown cause involving degenerative changes of skin and muscle.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a systemic disease chiefly involving the skin, muscles, and nerves.

Dermatomyositis was first described by the German physician E. Wagner and (independently) by the German physician H. Unverricht in 1887 and called acute progressive poliomyositis. In 1891, Unverricht suggested the name “dermatomyositis.” The disease has been little studied, and there is no consensus regarding its origin and development. Dermatomyositis may occur in acute or chronic form; in the latter there are intervals of varying duration (remissions) between exacerbations. The manifestations are extremely variable. The commonest are muscular pains, tension in some muscle groups (especially on movement), reddening of certain parts of the skin (most often on the face near the eyes, cheeks , and nose), peeling, and dilatation of blood vessels in the skin (telangiectasia). Hormonal preparations, antibiotics, antimalarial agents, antihistamines and desensitizing preparations, and vitamins are used in treatment. Dermatomyositis patients should be kept under clinical observation.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.